Swerve the relegated teams from the Premier League and back Wolverhampton Wanderers
Cardiff and Fulham were among the favourites to win last season’s Championship although neither side were anywhere near the top six in the final reckoning.
Indeed, the best of the relegated teams from the Premier League were Norwich who finished just short of the automatic places although it goes to show that the likes of QPR and Burnley won’t have it their own way next season. Charlie Austin leaving Loftus Road will deny Rangers a source of goal, while the same applies to Ings and the Clarets.
Rangers look particularly bad value considering there will be a clear-out at Loftus Road and an insistence on keeping Chris Ramsey as manager. While Sean Dyche has guided Burnley into the Premier League before, Kieran Trippier and Ings leaving could hit them hard.
Derby County are the other team at the head of the market, although Rams backers have now had their fingers burnt by a side who missed out in the play-off final two seasons ago before falling short of the top six last term.
There have been big changes at Pride Park, with Paul Clement coming in as manager and he’s been busy recruiting the likes of Darren Bent, Thomas Ince, Alex Pearce, Andreas Weimann and Chris Baird. However, odds of 6/1 are a touch skinny about any team winning the division and it might take time for the players to gel.
Their east Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest also get a wide berth on account of Dougie Freedman being overrated – just ask Bolton Wanderers fans. The Tricky Trees finished 19 points off the top six after a good start and won’t be addressing that slump in a hurry.
However, at nice odds of 16/1 are WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS. Last season was their first back in the Championship after winning League One with ease and Kenny Jackett took them within touching distance of the play-offs.
What we love about Wolves is they ended the last season pretty well and also have strikers that can score bundles of goals. Six wins from the final nine matches illustrated that they have a handle on the division and there could be investment in a concerted promotion push this summer.
Benik Afobe is a massive danger man and his partnership with Nouha Dicko could be a massive boost to Wolves’ chances of making the automatic promotion spots. The slight concern is the imminent loss of Bakary Sako who simply waits to see which Premier League are going to pay him the most money.
The other team we’re happy to back is MIDDLESBROUGH for the Championship at odds of 8/1. Aitor Karanka’s side narrowly missed out on automatic promotion last term and then lost in the play-off final against Norwich City. They were seven points better than the rest of the division and the return of Stewart Downing is clearly a big plus for the Teeside club.
Karanka is a class act and Boro’s home form was better than any other team last season. They should be very near the top of the Championship come Easter.
All odds were correct at time of posting.